Antoine Griezmann Dodges Questions on Future Amid Barcelona Rumours

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistMay 17, 2018

Atletico's Antoine Griezmann's celebrates his side opening goal during the Europa League Final soccer match between Marseille and Atletico Madrid at the Stade de Lyon outside Lyon, France, Wednesday, May 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Christophe Ena/Associated Press

Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann dodged questions about his future on Wednesday night after he inspired his side to UEFA Europa League glory.

The France international netted twice in Lyon, as Atletico brushed aside Olympique de Marseille 3-0 to win the prize. Afterwards, Griezmann was asked about the continued speculation linking him with a move to Barcelona but opted against providing any details on what club he will be playing for next season.

"I don't think now is the time to talk about my future," he said, per Lawrence Ostlere of The Independent. "I want to enjoy the present. ... I left home when I was 14 years old because I wanted to win trophies. This is my second, and I hope I can win more. This is a reward for all the work I have put in, the suffering."

As we can see, courtesy of Goal UK, Griezmann picked up the man-of-the-match award for his performance, as he grabbed a goal either side of half-time:

His manager, Diego Simeone, was coy when asked about his star man and appears to be taking a more laid-back approach to the transfer saga.

"Antoine—if he stays we'll continue to grow and develop," the Atletico boss said, per Press Association Sport (h/t Daniel Matthews and Mark Mann-Bryans of MailOnline). "If he goes, then great. He's given a lot to us over the years. Even without him, we'll continue to grow."

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 05: Antoine Griezmann of Atletico Madrid speaks with Head coach Diego Simeone of Atletico Madrid during the UEFA Europa League quarter final leg one match between Atletico Madrid and Sporting CP at Wanda Metropolitano on April 5, 201
TF-Images/Getty Images

Atletico chief executive Gil Martin has made it clear he wants Griezmann to stick around in the capital.

"It will depend on his feelings more than anything else," he told Cadena SER (h/t Sacha Pisani of Goal) of a possible transfer. "If he wants to make history at Atletico Madrid where everything revolves around him or go to a club where he will never enter history."

Simeone brought Griezmann to Atletico in the summer of 2014, and he's made massive strides since. Formerly a winger who would flicker in and out of games, the former Real Sociedad man is now a centre-forward and has the potential to influence the biggest games.

As BT Sport Football noted, he was integral to Atletico's Europa League success:

There appears to be momentum behind links to Barcelona, though, with speculation intensifying in recent weeks. Even Griezmann's team-mate Filipe Luis admitted the €100 million (£87 million) release clause in the forward's contract would be a "cheap" price to play for the Frenchman, per Dermot Corrigan of ESPN FC.

At 27, Griezmann may also feel as though this summer is the right time to take another step in his career. Barcelona, given their style of football and consistent success, would be a tempting prospect.

While they have done incredibly well under Simeone in recent years, as Bleacher Report's Sam Tighe noted, Atletico are not serial trophy winners:

Barcelona have an allure and would be getting a world-class footballer in Griezmann. Still, it's not clear where he would fit into the team at the Camp Nou, with Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho all already at the club.

Atletico will be desperate to keep Griezmann around, as he's been a game-changer in his four years in the Spanish capital. However, all the indications are he will move to Catalonia to sprinkle his stardust elsewhere in La Liga.

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